Marco Silva claims a poor pre-season was an indication of a long-hard season for Hull City, and one which ended in relegation from the Premier League on Sunday.
Although the Tigers began the campaign with two successive wins, including an opening-day victory over Leicester City, this followed a summer of discontent in which Steve Bruce left the club just weeks after leading them back into the top-flight. It seemed to take an eternity for the board to make Mike Phelan’s appointment permanent, but he was sacked in January after just three months.
Few had heard of Silva when he was announced as the new manager, yet last season he led Olympiakos to the Greek league title. Those who doubted his appointment were soon won over as the Portuguese coach took little time to impress, and having taken 13 points from a possible 18 in April, Hull were well placed to pull away from the relegation zone against all odds.
But last weekend’s shock 2-0 home defeat against already-relegated Sunderland was a huge blow for the Tigers, and meant they had to beat Crystal Palace, who would survive with a win, at Selhurst Park on Sunday. The hosts took an early lead and ran out 4-0 winners, leaving Silva with a relegation on his CV and pointing the finger of blame at the club’s preparation.
“For me it’s easy to see what the club needs to do differently,” he said. “They started to lose in pre-season when we were making our preparation. We tried to do many things in January but it’s not good to be signing six or seven players in January and losing two [Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass] in the market. You should be doing that in June, in pre-season. You need to prepare better.”
Hull would love to keep Silva in charge for their Championship campaign next term, but the 39-year-old is sure to be in high demand after making such an impression in his short time in England to date. When asked about his future the coach was guarded, but revealed he would meet with the chairman and the board in the coming days to analyse their position.
“It’s not the moment to talk about my situation, to talk about the future of the manager,” he said. “I respect too much the club and these fans, who have been amazing since I came here. It’s the moment to speak to the chairman and the board. The club needs to understand what they need to do differently in the future, and we’ll do that next. I will talk to the board and the chairman first.
“So we’ll analyse it and talk in the next few days. I have enjoyed these four months in the Premier League. That was one target I had in my career and we tried to do our best. Now it’s time to be calm and see what is best first for the future of the club and also for my career as well. But this is a sad day for the club and our fans. They didn’t deserve what’s happened this season.”
Hull’s defeat in the capital means Swansea City, as well as Palace, were celebrating as the weekend drew to a close. The Swans eased past Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon thanks to goals from Fernando Llorente and Kyle Naughton, and this proved enough for Paul Clement’s side to book their place at the top-table of English football for next season.